2009 Infiniti FX50 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Infiniti FX50 - Wrap-Up

February 03, 2010

We were conflicted when this 2009 Infiniti FX50S became a part of our long-term test fleet. It was kind of like winning a home swimming pool during a drought.

Amidst a global surge in fuel costs, a crippling global financial crisis and with ever-increasing pressure on going green and vehicular downsizing, the Infiniti FX50 didn't exactly project a very politically correct personality. Even so, its 390-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 had our mouths watering as if we'd been offered a hot whale burger braised in seal fat.

Sure, this hot-rod utility vehicle is not for everyone, but to those with the means and the mind to enjoy the finer things, life can be good even in the midst of troubled times.

We wanted in.

Why We Got It
The Infiniti FX has never been a volume seller. A highly specialized sport-style crossover, the FX has been both a technological and stylistic showcase for what Infiniti can offer for those who live on the edge. In its original form as the FX45, Infiniti's funky CUV thing found its way into the hands of only 1,598 owners in 2007 and just 581 people in 2008.

The 2009 Infiniti FX50 uses Infiniti's FM (front midship) platform, which underpins most everything that carries an Infiniti badge — the EX, the G and the M. But unlike those vehicles, this five-door lifestyle-oriented crossover is straddling an all-new 390-hp 5.0-liter V8 and seven-speed automatic transmission, a new powertrain for Infiniti.

Beyond the obvious mechanical gadgetry, there were open-ended questions to be answered. Does a CUV work when it's styled like a coupe? Does a vehicle really need four independent cameras for a bird's-eye parking view? Does an AWD CUV need 390 hp? (Just kidding; we already knew that it wouldn't be enough.) And what about the 21-inch wheels?

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2009 Infiniti FX50: There's a Bee In My... Seat.

February 03, 2010

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I was completely worn out after a long day. I had 60 miles to go through rush hour traffic before I could call it quits. It's times like this that I hate living in LA.

While driving the FX, I noticed a curious noise. I had the seat heater fan blowing and every time I hit the gas, the fan would buzz like a bee as it increased its revolutions. It sounded like a car radio without a noise filter. To double check, I turned the fan off and the noise went away. Back on, it angrily buzzed.

This is what traffic and boredom reduces me to. Sometimes I hate this town.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 29,825 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Goodbye Wash

February 01, 2010

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As the 2009 Infiniti FX50 prepares to leave our fleet for good, I took it this morning for its final visit to Blue Wave, our local car wash.

Watching the wash worker dress the Infiniti's tires, I thought about how much I'll miss the FX50 when it's gone. Not for its smooth, compliant ride, but for allowing me to look down on FX35 drivers (literally) from my perch atop its massive 21-inch wheels.

Goodbye, FX50. It's been tons of big-wheeled fun.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 29,616 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Satellite Radio

January 29, 2010

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I can always tell when our time with a particular long-term test vehicle is about to end. That's when the subscription to satellite radio ends and the electronics tell us to make a call to Sirius or (in the case of the 2009 Infiniti FX50) XM.

It's a sad moment, really. You never know how much you depend on satellite radio until it's gone, especially in a vehicle that has seen as many cross-country trips as this one.

When satellite radio first became available, there was a lot of talk about improved audio quality. Although, really, there wasn't much talk about satellite radio at all, since almost everyone was too busy downloading music onto his iPod to care about someone else's programming. But now that we have all these choices for audio entertainment in an automobile, I find the thing that makes satellite radio a great thing for me is the surprise factor.

You're never quite sure what you'll hear on satellite radio, whether it's a matter of changing from one genre to another or simply the sequence of music or programs. Everything is a surprise.

Even with an iPod memory full of music, an MP3 player always seems predictable even when it's selecting randomly, probably because you've loaded the music yourself. Also it's only playing music or programming that you've heard before. Meanwhile, conventional radio stations have become so rigorously formatted that the same loop seems to repeat every 21 minutes. And as far as talk radio goes, the only surprise is how angry and bad it is.

Maybe it's all in my head, but satellite radio seems to make the time pass on a cross-country trip in a far more pleasant way than other entertainment options. (It's particularly better than any kind of travel companion.) If it were my money, I'd spend it for a subscription.

So now that the 2009 Infiniti FX50 is about to disappear from our fleet, I'm scouting for another candidate for cross-country travel. Satellite radio is required.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 29,405 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Subtle?

January 27, 2010

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Subtle is not a word I would usually use to describe the 2009 Infiniti FX50. But despite its bulky design with prominent nose and big V8 engine, there is one element of the FX50 that is subtle: the seat heaters. You get three levels of subtle, subtler and hint of warmth. Even the dial that controls the function is small and understated.

Now, you know how we love our seat heaters at IL. Personally, I use them all of the time, even in the summer. So, here are the good things about the seat heaters in the 2009 Infiniti FX50. They work instantly without a long warm-up period. The heat is distributed up the backrest and not just on the seat bottom. I love that. They stay on unlike some other vehicles that slowly decrease the heat until they turn themselves off. The dial stays in the "on" position so next time you get in the car, they are already on.

I just wish they were hotter.

Anyone have an Infiniti FX out there? What do you think of the seat heaters?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Door Panel Replaced

January 21, 2010

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Finally. It took 2 months of ordering and re-ordering the replacement door panel for our 2009 Infiniti FX50. But it finally arrived. We stopped by Cerritos Infiniti to have it installed and now it's good as new. And the work itself took just under 2 hours.

Total Cost: $0

Days Out of Service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 29,000 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Floor Mat Creep

January 14, 2010

2009 infiniti fx50 floor mat on throttle

I didn't check the floor mat's positioning before I got into the driver seat recently. It's been a couple of months since floor mats were a main topic in the news, and I'd gotten complacent. But as soon as I started driving, I could tell something was wrong. The throttle pedal felt lumpy.

At a stoplight, I peeked down into the footwell and saw that the floor mat had crept up onto the bottom-hinged throttle pedal, as you can see in the photo above. While the light was still red, I reached down and pulled it as far away from the pedal as possible and then went on my merry way with no further incident.

Later, when I got to my destination, I figured I'd better reattach the mat, if that was possible. When I lifted up the mat, I saw that, unlike last time, there was a clip attached to the mat (we must have picked one up recently), but it had come loose from its anchor point in the carpet again. I pushed the clip into the hole as best I could and then rehooked the mat. It seemed to hold well enough. But it was a good reminder to check that mat every time I get in.

Bryn MacKinnon

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Love the Trap Door

January 11, 2010

2009 infiniti fx50 cargo area

Every time I get into our FX50 and have to install my child safety seat anew (which is every time I switch cars), I am reminded that I love the hinged cargo cover. It's like having a trap door from the back seat to the cargo area.

After I cinch down my kid's giant car seat, I always make sure to secure the top tether to the top tether anchor (which is often on the back of the back seat, below the cargo cover). To do this in many SUVs and hatchbacks that have rigid cargo covers, I have to jam and squeeze the top tether's large buckle through a tiny space not really designed to accomodate such a thing. Not so with the FX50. The hinged section of the cargo cover that's closest to the back seat easily just pushes down to let me drop the tether down where it needs to go.

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2009 Infiniti FX50S: SQUEEEEEEEEEE

January 07, 2010

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...and we're not talking the super-cute pictures of baby animals type squee. What we're dealing with in our 2009 Infiniti FX50S is a super-high-pitched (probably out of some people's hearing range) squuuuuueeeeeee every time you depress the accelerator with an iPod connected.

It's caused by improperly shielded/separated wires that are mixing signals when a current says, "Hey! Fuel pump....GO!" If we were to rip the FX50 apart we'd most likely find that the wires powering the iPod connection hard-wired in the center console are, in some spot, in close proximity to the wires that make fuel pumps pump. They could even be wrapped in the same harness. *gasp*

Bush-league mistake that every rookie car audio installer would catch before turning the system on. Never had this happen in any other Nissan/infiniti...only this one. Lame.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 28,511 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD -- Overkill

January 04, 2010

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Over the weekend I opted to take my ratty old compact sedan to go shopping rather than fire up the 2009 Infiniti FX50. The FX was just too much work, too big to park, too much of a statement for me.

I decided it was like taking a battleship to go fishing.

But I love the interior of this AWD SUV. And the seats are so comfortable you don't want to get out.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 28,328 miles

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